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Poster: yesss! Date: May 20, 2009 12:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

yep, one of the greats and truly deserving of a listen or re-listen (or re-re-re-listen). i normally stay away from the "best ever" and "top five" discussions because there is just so much good to choose from, but this was my absolute favorite tape when i first got it 20 years ago and it has remained a sentimental favorite ever since. this is due largely to the fact that it was the best tape that i had during the time when i was first really getting into music and i listened to it intensely until it became burned into my impressionable young mind- to the point that i can still air-guitar (and air-drum, air-bass, etc) every single note of the whole show. so even though i have since amassed many great shows and have become able to critically analyze and compare various performances, portland '74 remains special to me because it was the first tape to completely blow my mind. and you never forget your first.

this soundboard is another excellent recording from may 74 and everybody in the band sounds great. they are all at the top of their game musically and each member is making tasteful and inspired contributions throughout (minus donna's infamous scarlet caterwaul). jerry, keith, and phil have particularly strong shows, but the whole band functions perfectly as an ensemble- playing music that is high-energy yet laid back, loose but focused, bold and confident but sensitive and humble, with each player making strong individual statements but listening and reacting with big ears. just excellent ensemble improvisation. this telepathic group-think is most evident in the shows two main highlights- china>rider and the truckin>mlb>nfa>gdtrfb jam- but there are great versions of lots of other songs to be found here as well. bertha>gset is big and bouncy and fun, b.t. wind builds nicely to a powerful peak, and both ship of fools and wharf rat are tonally rich and soulfully sung. loose lucy also has a nice bluesy little solo, tennessee jed gets cooking in the final jam, and peggy-o is a sweet reading for the first time played. but the obvious and undeniable peaks of this classic show are the jams.

truckin>mlb>nfa>gdtrfb is a churning chunk of bluesy, jazzy, 1974 grateful dead in the key of E. it's not quite as exploratory as some of the other big jams of the year but it is very focused and efficient- everybody keeps the forward momentum rolling and the noodle factor is minimal. the truckin' itself is pretty good but, right when things start to wind down, the band turns on a dime and drops into a funky and percolating piano-driven groove that has keith and bobby throwing down chords while jerry wails on top and billy flutters and cracks underneath. a nice tight take on the fusion-tinged 74 jam approach that could sometimes get a bit scattered or frantic. this then slides effortlessly into a great mlb jam that features some nasty fuzz tone jerry and good rhodes/guitar comping from keith and bobby. but, after a brief statement of the melody, keith and billy lock into a groove and steer the jam back towards the funk for a bit while jerry kicks in the wah before starting up not fade away. it's a decent version with keith getting some good tones out of his rhodes but the jam is a little flat. then, around the 6:20 mark, keith and billy nail the one and the whole band starts hitting downbeat chords to give jerry space for some bluesy guitar breaks. it is a great moment of spontaneous composition and it transitions perfectly into a spirited romp through gdtrfb. after some great six-string slinging, piano pounding, bass bombs, and many many "goin' down the road feelin' bad"s, they bring us back down with a sweet "bid you goodnight" melody to finish off the medley . i imagine the crowd exchanged some sweaty smiles at that point.

the china>rider from portland '74 is, to me, is the most perfectly executed of all of the great 73/74 versions and is the one that i compare all others to. i know that other versions are more unique (6/26) or more raging (5/25) or whatever, but this one is just perfect. everybody in the band is on the same page the whole time and each musician plays just the right line or adds the right embellishment at the right time to move the piece in the right direction. the changes don't sound forced, there is no confusion in the tension section or botched transition or moments where it sounds like the band is looking at each other asking "now?"- it is just one seamless flowing piece of music from the opening notes to thunderous final chords. i will mention here that this was the first china>rider that i had heard with the "feelin' groovy" transition and, in my youthful naivety, i thought that the whole orchestrated piece had just flowed out of the band in a triumphant moment of collective creativity. so that probably helped cement it's place on my list of greatest grateful dead moments. anyway, the chinacat itself is pretty good- good verses, good first solo, great playing by phil in the second solo, obligatory bobby solo, etc.. but then jerry and phil start stringing together interweaving lines and rapidly building the energy as billy and keith push them on. jerry drives the tension higher with wailing bent notes before steering the whole band over the edge and into the flowing descending chords to the cheers of blissed-out fans. everybody is grooving nicely as they all reach the first turnaround and build a great little peak that has a triumphant melody by jerry while billy, phil, and keith construct an angular ascending shape that is just about to fall apart before they drop back into the beautiful release. jerry's notes cascade and dance around keith's descending piano before he plays another great melody that leads perfectly into the second turnaround- which this time finds the band passing around a phrase that builds into the next release. more raining bliss from jerry and then into the final turnaround, where the whole band builds a nice tension before a commanding final bass swoop from phil drops us into rider and jerry's and keith's notes go trailing over the edge. good stuff. phil continues to play very strong through rider, and he and keith interact beautifully with jerry's solo and the "headlight" verse. another chorus, big final chord section, awkward acapella vocal, thunderous ending. set break.

so, yeah, that wound up being a lot of words. sorry about that. this show has already been on my mind lately because the city was planning on tearing down the coliseum and it has been in the news a lot (public reaction saved the "tea cup in a glass box"). so i took the anniversary as an excuse to drink a couple beers and give this great show the play-by-play treatment. thanks for the THID opportunity to ramble...

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 20, 2009 10:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

great review yesss! thanks

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: May 20, 2009 11:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Nice -- I got a cassette copy of the first set sometime in the late-1980s. Primo. My first taste of 1974 Dead and I was hooked. I think it was Loose Lucy that did it.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: May 20, 2009 9:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Great review, yesss! We need more like yours and less like chefjboyardee's. I love the line about "Grateful Dead in the key of E." :)

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Poster: deyzof49 Date: May 21, 2009 6:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

That line got to me too.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 20, 2009 6:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

" We need more like yours and less like chefjboyardee's"

Agreed cueball but I have to point out that I own the trademark on that spin on his name so next time you have to put a TM after it. I don't want to have to recruit Bluedevil and Pat Kelley and get all litigious on you.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: May 20, 2009 7:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Out of office reply - Attorney Bluedevil will be unavailable until after Memorial Day. He is currently busy playing Jesse Ventura kicking Fox ass videos and doing slow mo crawls of Glenn Beck made to look a fool on, of all shows, the view (dead approved daytime television). Also, he is trying to figure out why 5/19/74 wasn't in his regular rotation until today. If you need immediate assistance, please direct all queries to the Forum minister, who is basking in the glow of his boys coming up huge in the final minute last night.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 21, 2009 9:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Ah yes, I have been enjoying the same. Hard to call him out being an ex Navy Seal vs. a chicken hawk. Could it be that some people actually care about this Country more than straight partisan politics?

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Poster: high flow Date: May 21, 2009 11:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

BD - Please tell The Body(Not Jamie Lee) to go back to Mexico.

Anybody who spends 8 months of the year surfing and eating fish tacos in another country does not get the privilege making suggestions about how this country should be run.

As for Glenn Beck. What the hell happened to that guy?? He's gone wacko! Once a voice for common-sense-politics, he's now just another fear monger.

Glenn, I find it hard to believe that I'll need my gun to defend my vegetables.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: May 21, 2009 11:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

he was asked about his time in mexico by sean "i'll gladly be waterboarded until you actually call me onit" hannity and stated that he was only there 3 months because his brother-in-law died this past year of pancreatic cancer and he remained stateside with his wife while she cared for her dying brother.

Minnesota politics - it might be crazier than Florida!

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Poster: bluedevil Date: May 21, 2009 11:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

he was asked about his time in mexico by sean "i'll gladly be waterboarded until you actually call me onit" hannity and stated that he was only there 3 months because his brother-in-law died this past year of pancreatic cancer and he remained stateside with his wife while she cared for her dying brother.

Minnesota politics - it might be crazier than Florida!

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Poster: high flow Date: May 21, 2009 12:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Alright. I am sympathetic.

I actually heard the interview and I was so damn jealous of his lifestyle that I had to bust him.:)

BTW, did you hear Rich Little on Hannity(or perhaps is was Lars Larsen), last week? Little is still VERY sharp. He told a few funny stories about Ronald Reagan. Good stuff.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: May 20, 2009 11:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Check. I would never claim another's intellectual property, doncha know... *Sarah Palin Wink* ;-)

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 21, 2009 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Did you just use intellectual and Sarah Palin in the same sentence?

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: May 21, 2009 9:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

First and last time. ;)

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 21, 2009 9:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

whew, good. For a minute I thought I might have been wrong about you : )

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: May 21, 2009 4:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

thank ya!

This post was modified by Styrofoam Cueball on 2009-05-21 23:42:06

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Poster: Edsel Date: May 21, 2009 10:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Among other things, fear perpetuates our worst qualities.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: May 21, 2009 9:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

no..no... heavens, no. I think Chefjboyardee™® (U.S. Pat. Off. 6453746) has more on the ball than Palin... :)

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: May 21, 2009 10:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

AWESOME. That was great!

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Poster: sambonk2 Date: May 20, 2009 11:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

the WRS is Wonderful!!

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Poster: SkyDawg Date: May 20, 2009 2:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Spoken like a true fan! Nice review.

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Poster: deyzof49 Date: May 20, 2009 2:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH...One of the best...05-19-1974 Portland

Stunning show. Ya must have blissed a lot of people out playin em yer tape thru the years. Lovely review. Yessss!